Greg Daniels' introduction to the culinary world wasn't a romantic one: he started working at a fast food restaurant at age 15, followed by a stint as a bartender. Nevertheless, these jobs ignited a passion for cooking that would guide his entire life. The Le Cordon Bleu graduate now works as the executive chef at Haven Gastropub, where he has designed a menu of gourmet American and European comfort foods inspired by his travels to England, New York, and San Francisco.
The eatery is an across-the-pond extension of the gastropub movement, which began in London in the 90s. Gastropubs differ from traditional pubs in that they specialize in high-quality eats and permit only the most beautiful drinking songs. Haven, for example, serves lamb burgers on rosemary brioche buns, fries sprinkled with house-made truffle salt, and whole roasted suckling pigs.
Of course, the "pub" part of Gastropub still implies a lively bar. Bartenders pour more than a dozen draughts as well as a selection of bottled beers, red and white wines, and craft cocktails blended with house-made mixes.
Nestled inside the Bonaventure Hotel, experienced masseuses maintain 10,000 square feet of pure serenity spread across 11 treatment rooms. Cordoned off into sections for men and women, the facility flaunts amenities such as hydro-jet showers with seven pulsing showerheads and saunas fogged with soothing vapor instead of fog machines stolen from middle-school dances. Bonaventure Club plucks massage techniques from all over the globe, including Thailand where therapists stretch frames with their hands, knees, and feet to amplify the client's flexibility and energy. Pre- or post-treament, clients can unwind in a relaxation lounge stocked with Perrier water, jasmine-rose tea, and snacks, while flipping through magazines or watching a big-screen TV.
The "secret" in Bacchus' Secret Cellar is gas. Argon gas, to be exact, which powers the bar's preservation system and ensures that the wines within stay fresh for long periods of time. There are about 50 wines—mostly reds—on tap at the counter, as well as 8 sparkling wines, 5 dessert wines, and 12 microbrews. The library of options encourages guests to sample several, so it's wise to order a flight: you can get a signature array of 2.5-ounce glasses, or you can compose your own for a unique harmony of tastes.
The bar is just the beginning of the cellar's wine selection. On the shelves that span the walls, more than 350 labels beckon to be uncorked. A bistro menu provides gourmet food to complement sips, from starters of oven-roasted dates to lamb burgers and prosciutto flatbreads, made by dropping a regular loaf of bread into a printing press by accident. There's also a full menu of cheeseboards, with goat, cow, and sheep cheeses from the United States and abroad.
It's been nearly three decades since the first Taco Factory Inc opened its doors, and though the business has expanded to other locations, some things haven't changed. Chefs at all locations still rely on the same family recipes to craft a menu of authentic Mexican cuisine. The guacamole that tops the restaurant's tacos, tostadas, and burritos, for example, is still made fresh in-house, and the salsas and tortilla chips are always handmade. Breakfast, which is served till noon, features hearty eye-openers like egg and bean burritos or huevos rancheros, while a variety of vegetarian options cater to those in search of lighter fare.
While craft beer festivals sling inventive and rare brews while breeding camaraderie amongst casual drinkers and connoisseurs, they're typically lacking in ghosts, goblins, and monsters. With BierBuzz Masquerade, that problem is solved. Here, a craft beer festival and Halloween gaiety are combined. Making a classy red carpet entry, revelers clad in costumes ranging from scary to silly to scintillating breeze into the masquerade ready to cavort and impress with their lurching zombie, sexy nurse, or sexier ombudsman getup.
To the soundtrack of live reggae and bluesy rock from My Own Holiday and Papafish, decked-out attendees quench their thirsts with more than 40 beers from dozens of local and faraway brewmasters, including Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Crispin Cider, Goose Island, and Black Market Brewing Company. As a bonus for this special occasion, each brewery is brewing up over 20 new and rare beers that will be exclusive to the BierBuzz Masquerade, and may never be tasted again unless some cool Groundhog Day time-warp occurs.
Pomona Packing Plant?the historic structure that holds Sanctum Brewing Co.?served as a fruit cannery in the days before the Great Depression. Workers there spent their days processing lemons, peaches, snozberries, and other fruits. Today, you can still find fruit at the plant if you look behind a door marked "21." Thats where Jason and Scott, the founders and head brewers of Sanctum Brewing Co., create beers infused with fruits, such as tangerines and apples.
They go far beyond fruit when choosing unique ingredients for their creative beers, though. For example, turnips lend a smooth, earthy flavor to an imperial red ale, and Dutch cocoa deepens the robust taste of a russian imperial stout. Guests can savor these creations?a portion of the proceeds from which are donated to charity?in a tasting room outfitted with a copper-topped bar. In addition, the brewery sometimes hosts art shows and food trucks, such as Haute Burger.